NOTE: Pax Christi USA leadership signed onto the following letter which was sent to the Progressive Caucus yesterday.

Dear Progressive Caucus Member,

We write to you at a time of great peril for our nation. With an economy teetering and an exorbitantly expensive, protracted military engagement in Afghanistan, Congress has been asked once again to prioritize military spending over domestic needs with a total bill of $648.7 billion for the next fiscal year. A decade of war has brought us no closer to success in Afghanistan, where fewer than 100 Al Qaeda fighters remain.

The American people have grown weary of hearing that there is not enough money for schools, jobs, health care or housing – yet always enough funding for wars. The US Conference of Mayors overwhelmingly passed a resolution to end the wars and bring the money home, amplifying the voices of their constituents.

The FY 2012 Defense Appropriations bill not only allocates $530 billion for the Pentagon, it also includes $118 billion to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now that the Obama Administration has clearly decided to continue the war in Afghanistan until at least 2014, the reasons to object are stronger than ever.

What values does the appropriation of $118 billion more for war suggest to the American people and the rest of the world, while at the same time the government is closing libraries and firehouses, laying off public servants and teachers, denying care to the sick and elderly, and abandoning quality education for children?

We note that the content of the proposed FY 2012 Defense Appropriations bill is directly at odds with the important principles, expressed in the CPC People’s Budget, introduced earlier this year.

We therefore urge that the Progressive Caucus and its individual members support an amendment to the FY 2012 Defense Appropriations bill, which limits funding for Afghanistan to the safe and orderly withdrawal of troops (Lee/Nadler/Woolsey Amendment) and that the Caucus vote against the Defense Appropriations bill as a whole.

By signing below, we express our commitment to supporting the Progressive Caucus in its efforts to redirect our national priorities away from militarism and towards social justice here at home.

(The letter was signed by Tom Cordaro, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace; Dave Robinson, Executive Director, Pax Christi USA; Jean Stokan, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas-Justice Team and former national staff member of Pax Christi USA; and Pax Christi chapters and affiliates, Pax Christi Long Island, Pax Christi Metro New York, Pax Christi Northeast Florida, and the Malu ‘Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action.)

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